The sometimes demanding or vengeful god christian god
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The sometimes demanding or vengeful god christian god: The sometimes demanding or vengeful god the god who plays favorites and wants sacrifice. those images and stories out of the bible leave us with a god made out of human needs and understanding from 3000 and more years ago.
- 2022-06-07 15:48:17
- Internet Archive Python library 3.0.1
- Do you believe in god. If we pause. For even a few heartbeats before we answer that question we might remember how huge a concept is packed into that little. Three-letter word. And yet we usually hear the question. As a very small and specific one that we offer that we answer right off the top. Of our heads. Do you believe in god. The one who asked. And the one who answers. Almost always assume that they are talking about in invisible. But all-knowing and all-powerful personality. And so far most of us. Most of the time. The answer is. No. The god. Described in the bible stories that most of us are familiar with. Is the basis for our assumptions. This is a god drawn in simple and very human lines. Earliest pages of the book of genesis this god. Talk to himself. As he. Divides the labor in 27 days and each day declares it good. Separating the light from the dark. And giving shape and life. The entire cosmos. He create. Adam and eve. And a garden of eden. But then set up rules that they are absolutely guaranteed to break. And punishment as a consequence of that breaking a rule. The stories in the bible. About god. Give us a god image that is really human nature drone that. Though. One-half of our character the female half. Is distinctly absent. He walk peaceably in the garden and feels the do on his feet. He talks with the process and when necessary argue plead threatens and weedles. He hates. And he loves. He feels loneliness. And longing. He chooses sides. And gets upset when his side loses. He has sometimes violent celebrations when his side wins. He passed even his most loyal followers in alarming ways. Like asking abraham to sacrifice his only son. Or gambling with satan. Over whether or not jobe will finally crack. In the christian scriptures the image. Of a loving father. Begins to replace that of a warrior. Or a judge. The parables jesus taught. Jeep kind of turning. A way to imagine god held within a heart of compassion. But then. Christian theology elevated jesus. Into a part of the godhead. Creating a formula of trinity. Father son and holy spirit that is so far away from our lived experience. But the mind. Stumbled. Those images and stories out of the bible leave us with a god made out of human needs and understanding from 3000 and more years ago. We. Are a different people. For one thing. We know too much. We know about the infinitely tiny maps drawn by the twisting threads of dna and we are hard at work. Becoming creator gods ourselves. As we mix-and-match those strands. We have made massive telescopes and the cameras and launched them into space to take a look at nebula exploding many light-years away. Where some cosmic stew still bruised new stars. Do we. Believe in god. Not most of us. Not in the literal creator god. The sometimes demanding or vengeful god the god who plays favorites and wants sacrifice. Not even in the god who might walk with us in a dewey garden. The father. Received the fall of the smallest pharaoh. And certainly not in the opinion dated god who cares which football team wins the game. The images are too simple and too literal. And so when we are asked the question. We almost always say. No. Religious freedom. Is at the heart of our unitarian universalist faith. Freedom from the old creeds that bound our ancestors. And freedom to explore. The whole world and believe to discover where our hearts find the resonance of poop. Given that heritage of ours it is interesting to me that's so few of us have tried to wrestle our way out of the narrowness that bind that question. In other areas of our lives. We are smart creative thinkers. And we don't let ourselves get trapped by assumptions we don't share in fact we're really good at unpacking the assumptions behind the question. Before we engage in it. In the realm of spiritual seeking one would think that we had become expert at broadening. The conversation. But most of us have done very little translation. When it comes to the question of belief in god. Instead. We stay stuck in one set of images. For what we mean by that small inlaid in word. We keep our imaginations small. Within the dualism. Theist and atheist. Believer and unbeliever. But think about how flat and dull that dualism really is. Why not answer the narrow question. With a better one. Do you believe in god. Well. What are my options. What definition of god. Are we talkin about. Even within judaism and christianity there have always been those who gave an alternative vision. Who offered what bishop van has called the minority report. One ancient hebrew word for god princeton. Was rua. Or wind. God as ruler was not a warrior or a father or a person at all but an animating force. The vital breath of life itself. This was the word actually used in that ancient story in the book of genesis that describes god creating everything out of nothing. It was ruah. The wind of god. That brooded over the chaos in the story of creation in order to bring forth life. Conjure up those fantastic images from the hubble telescope. Those images of great clouds of nebula. And stardust. Hundreds of light-years in size. When i think of those or see those pictures it is easy to imagine god. As cosmic brat. Infinitely large. And yet. Inseparable from the small familiar breath in our own fragile bodies. When i was a little kid growing up in a catholic household. I came to the point that many of us reached sometime in adolescence or teenage years if we were raised. In such traditions. It's that moment when it begins to dawn on us that we are not going to get satisfactory answers. Do the questions we bring forward. In my case my catechism classes were taught by well-meaning nuns. Looking back on it as an adult. I imagine they actually carried quite a few of these questions in their own framing in language. Within their hearts and minds. As they taught the catechism. They never scolded me. For the things i ask. But there was a final answer that would inevitably arise after the long string of queries. It's a mystery deer. They would say. How can god be three people but still just one. How could jesus have died for my sins when you didn't even know what the sims would be. How could god know everything and still not stop bad things from happening like war. It's a mystery dear they would say a little wearily. For a long time after i stopped calling myself a catholic i heard those words echo in my mind as an excuse. The final refuge when there was no reasonable answer to give. But now i also hear the truth in that statement. It is a mystery. All that we might try to capture. When we speak together not just about god. But about any of the huge spiritual or religious questions with which we try to grapple. As we move through our lives. Mystery. Is the place beyond our formulas and are constructed. It is out there past the edge of our logic. And our proof. It hovers in the questions and all. That surround both birth. Anda. It shines through in the direct experiences that we have. That bring us into silence. It shines through in little snippets of scripture or poetry or music that bring our minds beyond words. And flood our heart with feeling. Mystic. From every tradition. Have seen the inadequacy of god images and language. Do they have struggled to give some kind of voice or shape to what they intuitive. Or experience. They often turn to silence. Or used images so paradoxical that they bring our rational minds. And our worthy worthy fought. Do a temporary stop. The 13th century christian mystic. Meister eckhart said. The eye through which i see god. Is the semi through which god sees me. My eye and god's eye r1i. One seeing one knowing. 1. Love. What if this is the god. We're asked about. What is the question has to do with the profound one the mysterious something that connects us not only to each other. But to the stars we see at night. Then some of us. Might find ourselves tiptoeing back toward the camp of the believers. Maybe this is a god in which we do believe. Because we've caught glimmers of it all around us. Or intuitive. Etta level down to our bones. Other images might help bring those glimmers of intuition into some form or metaphor we could actually. Talk about. The muslim mystics wrote poems centuries ago. But still speak to us. Like the reading from huskies that we use this morning. They're ecstatic voices try to bring together the vastness of mystery with our most intimate understandings of love. Puppies. Rumi and kabir sometimes use the word god. But more often their poetry speaks of the divine as the guest. The friends. The teacher. The beloved. Presents most dear. They turned downward. N-word. To see the divine as a companion so close so bound into out on breath and our own beating heart that we constantly miss it. By looking too far outside ourselves. Rumi road. Pilgrims on the way where are you. Here is the beloved. Your beloved lives next door wall-to-wall why do you wander around and around the desert. If you look into the face of love you yourself. Become the house of god. Wrote a poem called. And then you are. In which he slides and dances from image to image to image of the divine. Be right and then you are like this a small bird decorated with orange patches of light waving your wings near my window encouraging me with all existences love. The dance. And then you are the firmament. The bins at the end of a string in your hand that you offered to mine. Training. Did you drop this surely this is yours. And then you are then you are the beloved. Every creature reveals with such grandeur bursting from each cell in my body i kneel i laugh i weep i sing. Language gives us images of the divine that might feel more real and write to us. None of them capture the thing they point toward. But the more of them we try out. The richer our imagining can become. The theologians and mystics and poets who have worked their way out of the constraints is that little tiny god box. Push us to sprint. Rather than define. The mystery. Their god. Is read through every sense of the body. Incarnate. In every mote in every whisper. Of the world around us. They are not quite saying that everything in the world is god. But rather that everything in the world. Can be a window. Into god. And through those open windows the idea of god just burp. Out of those old images. Women's voices have struggled for centuries against those old images because we can't see ourselves there at all. Retry on other frames. And other metaphors to try to supply the missing feminine energy. Poet pattiann rogers. List of the image of a woman making bread. One of the oldest most archival images for nurture. For the hearth. A metaphor for how women bring life into the world. And help to sustain it. In watching those hands creating the staff of life. Rogers. God. She right. Regard those hands now if you never noticed before flower cake fist and palms knuckling the lump. Gathering dividing talking and rolling reversing. Fire in the distance far past orien and magellan's vapors past the dark nebula and assisted rings of interstellar dust there. An apron figure fans needing. Right. With you. Her children at her skirt. Poet denise levertov uses the image of god as a woman weaving. Gods. In the wilderness next door. Busy at the loom. Among the berry bushes rain or shine fat loud clacking and worrying irregular. But continuous. God is absorbed in work. Perhaps listens for prayers in that wild solitude. And hurries on with the weaving. Till it's done. The great. Garment woven. And poet tim kramer in her poem. Epiphany. Leave behind human images completely. My friend says she saw you want as prairie grass. Nebraska. Prairie grass. She climbed out of her car on the highway looked out over one great flowing field stretching beyond forsyth until the horizon came. She says. Responsive to the slightest shift of wind full of infinite change all. 1. She says when she can't pray. She calls up prairie grass. Do you believe in god. What are the options. God as ancient father. God as creator sustainer and redeemer. God as all-powerful and all-knowing god with a plan for your life. Those are options. In the spectrum of that question. But there are so many others. Held there too. God as mother. In a yeasty kitchen as the weaver in the woods of the world. God as dancer. As the gas the teacher. The beloved. There is god as rudolph. The wind of life. God has prairie grass. God has the invisible thread linking all hearts and minds. All life. There is god as sophia. The hebrew word for wisdom. God as the mystery we touch only in silence. God of the darkness. Are all forms vanish. And we rest. In a place without. Images. How to use right. Every child. Has known god. Not the god of names. Not the god of don't. Not the god who ever does anything strange. But the god who only knows. Four words. It keeps repeating them saying. Come. Dance. With me. Do you believe in god.